Stormwater in sewer system necessitates stopgap measure

By on January 9, 2009

by Martha Quetsch

Until Elburn replaces three aging wastewater treatment plant pumps this spring, it needs to install a standby pump in case heavy rainfall overwhelms the sewer system, said the village’s new public works superintendent, John Nevenhoven.

The existing pumps, located at the village’s wastewater treatment plant, are not functioning well, Nevenhoven said.

“If we have heavy rains and there is a pump failure, I don’t know if we can keep up with the flow,” Nevenhoven said. “This (the standby pump) would be like an insurance policy.”

Elburn trustees on Monday agreed that the village should buy a standby pump from Metropolitan Pump for $19,985.

Last month, the Village Board ordered three new pumps from Gaskill and Walton Construction Company for $80,400, but will not receive them for a few months.

Nevenhoven said the standby pump can be installed immediately to temporarily replace one of the existing pumps. After the three new permanent pumps are installed, the village could keep the standby to use if one of those ever fails.

The village’s sanitary sewer is separate from the stormwater sewer. However, heavy rainfall in mid-September caused sewage backups in some homes; so public works staff and village engineers since then have been trying to determine how rainwater is infiltrating the sewer system.

Normally, the wastewater treatment plant pumps approximately 700,000 gallons per day. During heavy rain Dec. 27, the flow jumped to 3.4 million gallons, Nevenhoven said.

“If we had lost one of our pumps, we would have had a sewer backup,” Nevenhoven said.

The village replaced one of the wastewater treatment plant’s four pumps earlier this year, paying Mississippi Valley Pump $17,291 for the project.